New carbon efficient eco retirement home unveiled for Concorde at Manchester Airport
Fly-past celebrates opening of Concorde Visitor Centre (photo: Manchester Airport)
Thu 26 Feb 2009 – One of the few remaining highly environmentally unfriendly Concorde aircraft has been retired to a newly-built eco-home at the UK’s Manchester Airport. The 2,574-square-metre Concorde Visitor Centre, which will display the aircraft, includes a corporate hospitality suite, an education centre for local schools and a glass-walled visitor centre. Before its final flight to Manchester in 2003, the noisy, fuel-guzzling but iconic and much-loved former British Airways Concorde G-BOAC was in service for three decades, during which time it achieved the highest recorded ground speed for a commercial airliner of 1,488mph.
Since the launch of Manchester Airport’s environment plan in 2006, all designers are tasked to ensure that new buildings are carbon efficient. The Centre includes emerging technologies such as biomass heating fuelled by willow grown on the airport site and also uses rainwater harvesting and solar panels to capture the sun’s energy and heat the water system. Construction began just last December to protect the aircraft, which had been displayed outside for the past five years.
“The Concorde Visitor Centre is the first new building on the airport site to comply with strict construction standards as part of Manchester Airport’s commitment to having carbon neutral operations by 2015,” said the airport’s Chief Executive, Geoff Muirhead, who opened the facility together with Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of British Airways.
Only 20 of the controversial aircraft entered service and the last were eventually retired following a fateful crash of an Air France Concorde departing from Paris CDG Airport in July 2000 and the harsh economic climate that hit the airline industry after the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001.
The introduction of Concorde was instrumental in raising public perception of aircraft noise nuisance. As Wikipedia puts it: “The opposition to Concorde’s noise, particularly on the eastern coast of the United States, forged a new political agenda on both sides of the Atlantic, with scientists and technology experts across a multitude of industries beginning to take the environmental and social impact more seriously.
“Although Concorde led directly to the introduction of a general noise abatement programme for aircraft flying out of John F Kennedy Airport, it was later found that Concorde was actually quieter than some aircraft, partly due to the pilots temporarily throttling back their engines to reduce noise during overflight of residential areas.”
The fuel consumption of Concorde was approximately 17 litres per 100km per passenger or 14 miles per US gallon, compared to 2.6 litres per 100km per passenger or 109 miles per US gallon for a contemporary Boeing 747-400.